Home Control Assistant Newsletter for November 20 2022

Have you read the Important Announcement posted on August 1, 2021? If you haven't you need to.

The latest version of HCA is 17.0.48 with new features!
Read about how you can download it.
A bit of philosophy this week…
You probably already know by now that I am a weather junkie. When I have nothing else to do I watch the weather channel - sometimes for hours. Yes, I admit it is a bit odd. When the last big hurricane hit Florida, I was, as they say, glued to the set. During bad weather events the weather channel tends to show a lot of advertisements for generators, storable food, and the “perfect go-bag”. Let’s take a minute and think beyond that.

While I will not enter the general discussion on disaster preparation, I’m thinking that we may be missing a key aspect. Water, Power, Food, and Shelter, are all on the must-have list for getting through difficult times. But what about “data” as a fundamental need equal to all of these?

Does anyone even have a television with an antenna, or a battery powered radio? I don’t. My television comes through the internet. I have no landline for a phone. And I’m sure that few of you have daily newspaper deliveries. Where do we all now get our information? I bet that all your sources are in some way network connected. And how does that network survive an outage? Just for fun I called my DSL supplier and asked about power backups. They thought I was odd to ask and offered little information. And it’s not just them. What about all the various pieces of telco hardware that supply the DSL. No idea.

So what happens if bad stuff happens? With the loss of my internet there goes all my access to information. I do have a mobile phone, but we saw how that went during the big hurricane (read: poorly). And while sometimes voice continues to operate, data can go down. That leaves me with no weather channel or general information about the bad stuff I need to know about.

At my home I did install the StarLink system for internet so that gives me a backup for data and as long as I have power I can get data. That gives me access to information. I assume that the StarLink ground stations will be reasonably backed up, and there are several.

I guess all I’m trying to say is that to the “must have” list that is talked about endlessly – food, shelter, water, power – we should consider adding reliable data access to that short list. How to do that can be a real challenge I understand. How would a loss of data effect you? For each of us it will be different but maybe we should spend a bit of time considering.

If you are using a version of HCA prior to version 17, you may have questions about the wisdom of upgrading to version 17 given the future of HCA. Here is something to consider:

The support policy for older HCA versions has been changed
 as I can no longer devote time to past version users. Support will only be available for HCA 17 users.

If you are on version 16 or earlier and want to continue using the cloud features and want to be assured that if you have a question that it gets answered, it is indeed time to upgrade.

HCA is fully operational for several more years so the update cost, spread out over that time, is very little. Knowing support is available when you need it is worth it.
Upgrade to HCA 17
Anyone who is using Hubitat with HCA – not SmartThings – please drop me a note as I would like to add you to a discussion list for those users. I have some Hubitat ideas that I would like to “kick around” and it would help to have a group of users who have experience with Hubitat. Please just send a note to the regular support address saying you would like to be added to that discussion list.
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